Woof Whiskers Rating - 3/10
Dog Chow pulls down Purina’s reputation. We do not recommend this dog food due to the number of filler ingredients, limited amounts of real meat protein added food dyes, and below average estimated nutrient contents.
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Dog Chow is one of the biggest name brands in the dog food industry, and is sold all over the world by the Nestlé Purina PetCare company. The success of the “Chow” line has also allowed them to expand into other areas as well, with spin-offs including Puppy Chow and Cat Chow.
For this review, we analyzed a bag of Dog Chow Complete Adult Chicken Flavor.
Purina Dog Chow Review
Quality of Ingredients
Despite the vast popularity and long history of the company, the ingredients in Dog Chow are less than optimal. Despite the fact that the packages advertise as having real meat in every bag, the amount of that meat in comparison to fillers is very low. The first five ingredients in Dog Chow are whole grain corn, meat and bone meal, corn gluten meal, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols, and soybean meal. And not only that, but the food is also packed full of artificial coloring and preservatives, so it is definitely not a good choice for any dogs with sensitivities, or for owners who are looking for healthier, more natural foods.
Purina sometimes gets a bad reputation for sub-par food, but you can see from our overall Purina review that their Pro Plan is actually pretty good. In my opinion, Dog Chow really brings their reputation down significantly.
Full Ingredients and Analysis
Analyzing the first 10 ingredients in a dog food is a great way to understand the overall nutrient content of the dog food because AAFCO requires all dog food ingredients to be listed in order of predominance by their weight. Here’s a closer look at what’s inside Dog Chow Complete Adult Chicken Flavor.
Whole Grain Corn, Meat and Bone Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Animal Fat Preserved with Mixed-Tocopherols, Soybean Meal, Chicken By-Product Meal, Egg and Chicken Flavor, Whole Grain Wheat, Animal Digest, Salt, Calcium Carbonate, Potassium Chloride, L-Lysine Monohydrochloride, Mono and Dicalcium Phosphate, Choline Chloride, Zinc Sulfate, Yellow 6, Vitamin E Supplement, Ferrous Sulfate, Yellow 5, Red 40, Manganese Sulfate, Niacin, Blue 2, Vitamin A Supplement, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Pantothenate, Garlic Oil, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Calcium Iodate, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex (Source of Vitamin K Activity), Folic Acid, Biotin, Sodium Selenite.
While Dog Chow surpasses the AAFCO guidelines for minimum amounts of protein, it still falls well below average for both protein and fat, while carbs are higher than average. This is obvious by looking at the first 10 ingredients.
In addition, Blue #2 is a food dye that’s legal in the United States for use in both animal and pet food, but some groups have recently pushed for it to be banned. Research suggests that this food dye may cause cancer in rats and cause hyperactivity and behavioral problems in children. The affect on dogs has not been studied. Reference
Ingredients You May Wonder About:
- L-lysine: L-lysine is an essential amino acid.
- Niacin: Also known as Vitamin B3.
- Copper: Copper is found in nearly all living things and is required in the diet to keep a dog healthy. As a result, nearly all dog foods add small levels of copper in accordance to AAFCO guidelines.
- Calcium pantothenate: This is another B Vitamin that’s healthy for your dog and considered a requirement for a complete diet by the AAFCO. Reference
- Pyridoxine: Also known as Vitamin B6, a healthy part of your dog’s diet. Reference
- Thiamine mononitrate: This is a scientific name for Vitamin B1. Too little Vitamin B1 can cause a variety of health issues and any excess is easily flushed from the body. Most manufacturers add this dog food to stay in line with AAFCO guidelines. Reference
Dog Chow Product Line
Dog Chow has a number of different formulas geared towards dogs of different shapes and sizes. In the interests of keeping this list from dragging on forever, we will only look at a handful of them, but those left off include puppy and weight loss mixes specifically.
Natural is by far the highest quality of al of the Dog Chow lines, and promises that all of the ingredients that go into it were made right here in the USA. Unlike the other lines, Natural also has no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives added into it, however, the first ingredient is still corn, and the actual chicken portion of the ingredient list does not appear until the seventh entry, behind other things like by-products and whole grain wheat, among other fillers.
Little Bites is made specifically with the needs of smaller dogs in mind, and as such has smaller kibble to make it easier for the little guys to eat. The website also promises “high quality protein sources, including, real chicken and beef” to help support smaller pets higher metabolisms, but like the rest of the foods produced by Dog Chow, the real meat does not make an appearance until well into the ingredient list, and the first ingredient is corn. That said, however, the food does have 23 vitamins and minerals added in, and is formulated to help fight plaque and keep teeth clean.
Complete Adult is the standard food from the line, and the one that the company has made the most money on throughout its history. It also comes in two flavors, beef and chicken, but as usual, the meat does not appear until deep into the ingredient list and the first ingredients are corn and by-products. The chicken bag, however, does promise to use 100% American raised chicken, and both are formulated to be easily digestible and to support immune health with their blend of vitamins and minerals.
Picky Eaters, as the name suggests, is formulated for more finnicky dogs and is made with both tender and crunchy pieces to appeal to the widest set of animals possible. The packaging advertises that it has extra protein in it and says that it is made with real lamb, but as with the rest of the Dog Chow products, the first several ingredients are corn, wheat, and by-products.
Purina Dog Chow Pros:
Purina Dog Chow is extremely convenient and simple. Many dog owners all over the country rave about how their dog loves the taste of it and how they can’t wait for mealtime. The dog food is cheap and cost-effective, none of the food goes to waste and it lasts a long time once opened.
Purina Dog Chow Cons:
Unfortunately, Purina Dog Chow has a bad reputation for not having enough nutritional value and causing dogs to become malnourished and very unwell. There are also very limited grain-free options available, so if your pup suffers from allergies, you may suffer to find them something appropriate to eat.
Purina Dog Chow Customer Reviews
The best way to know how good a dog food company is, is by understanding what their customers feel about the product. Yes, the food is important; however, the overall experience, customer service, nutritional value of the food, and packaging shape what you feel about the brand.
We have looked into what Purina Dog Chow’s customers think about their product and how the company deals with hurdles and issues. Here are some of the things we found:
Large food bags have been reported to contain maggots in the past. Some retailers failed to pull the bags off the shelves in time, and that resulted in many customers opening and feeding inedible food to their pups.
Fussy pups love the taste of Purina Dog Chow. Whether they are fed dry dog food, a complete adult with real chicken, or puppy chow, most dogs chomp down the lot which is a great relief for fussy dog owners.
Customers love that they have very large bags that are amazing value for money. Purchasing a 52-pound bag is not only very cost-effective, it will also last you a very long time!
Pets with underlying allergies may have every serious allergic reaction to the dog food as it is not hypoallergenic or appropriate for sensitive stomachs. Customers have reported that their dogs suffered severe swelling, lethargy, and sickness and diarrhea after eating Purina Dog Chow.
Dogs with sensitive teeth will struggle to eat dry dog food as it is incredibly hard and dry. Older dogs especially have struggled to chew on and swallow the dry dog food.
Purina Dog Chow Alternatives
Purina Dog Chow isn’t going to be suitable for every dog, so that is why we have found some alternative dog food brands that your furry friend might love. Here are some of the options we have for you:
True Acre specializes in making grain-free and all-natural dry dog food. They have a vast range of meals and treats to choose from, and even have healthy long-lasting bones and dental chew sticks that your pup will love.
Farmina makes dog and cat food which is brilliant for pet owners that have both cats and dogs. Many pet owners hate having to buy their special durry family members food from separate manufacturers, and love that with Farmina you don’t have to.
Billy + Margot
If you are looking for natural dog food and dog treats for your pup, Billy + Margit may be the dog food for your pup. Their food is carefully formulated to be as nutritious and healthy as possible so that your dog gets all of the vitamins they need to thrive.
Marie Jones is the founder of Billy + Margot, and she is passionate about making the best food for your dogs. She is a certified nutritionist who has reviewed every one of the dog food formulas she sells.
Purina Dog Chow FAQ
For those of you who may have any questions or queries about Purina Dog Chow, we have compiled a frequently asked questions section that should make everything associated with Purina Dog Chow a bit clearer.
When it comes to our dogs’ nutrition, many of us are just as passionate about what they eat as we are about our own diets. Because of that, we understand how important this subject is for you and want you to have as much knowledge about the brand as possible.
Q: Is Purina Dog Chow good?
A: Unlike their other products, Purina Dog Chow is below average dog food. The first five ingredients in Dog Chow are whole grain corn, meat and bone meal, corn gluten meal, animal fat preserved with mixed tocopherols, and soybean meal.
Q: Is Purina Dog Chow safe for dogs?
A: Purina is made to meet the standard established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for balanced and safe nutrition for all life stages of dogs. However, some products like Dog Chow are low with quality ingredient sources.
Q: Why is Purina bad for dogs?
A: Some products like Purina Dog Chow are filled with ingredients with low nutritional value like whole-grain corn, meat, and bone meal. Purina is a notable brand producing dog food for decades having other products of higher quality.
Q: Has Purina dog food been responsible for killing dogs?
A: There have been allegations made that Purina dog food has been associated with poisoning dogs. A lawsuit was filed against the manufacturers by a pet owner that fed three of his dog’s Purina dog food which resulted in all three pups becoming unwell, and one even died.
Q: Which of the Purina dog food blends do vets recommend?
A: Vets highly recommend the Purina Pro-Plan for many different reasons. It is worth noting that some nutrition courses through a vet’s time in college are sponsored by large pet food companies, so their opinions could be biased.
Q: What is the healthiest dog food on the market?
A: Diamond Naturals, Wellness Core, Nature’s Logic, and Blue Buffalo are very famous for being some of the best dog food on the market.
Q: Which is better for your dog, Royal Canin or Purina?
A: Purina offers more than 3% more protein per meal to your dog than Royal Canin, making it a more popular, and all-round better choice for your pet.
Q: Where can I access nutritional information and ingredients for Purina dog food products?
A: If you are struggling to find ingredients and nutritional information for any of the Purina products online, simply head over to their official website and search for the product you are looking for. You will see an ‘ingredients’ tab under the product which will reveal all of the ingredients in the item.
Q: Are there probiotics added to certain Purina dog foods?
A: Yes there are. Probiotics are an important and beneficial part of your dog’s diet, and can even help strengthen your dog’s immune system. The train of probiotics that Purina chose for their food are the same as the probiotics used in human food and drink.
Q: Will adding toppers, wet food, or water to Purina dog food kill the probiotics?
A: Purina chose strong and robust probiotics for their SAVOR® dry formulas so that adding water, toppers, or wet food will not damage or kill the probiotics.
Q: How much Purina dog food should I feed my pet?
A: there are tougher and in-depth feeding guidelines on the dog food packaging. Your dog may need more or less depending on their size and weight, or any other health issue. We recommend asking your vet for advice and guidance so that you can ensure your pup is getting exactly what they need.
Q: What is the healthiest Purina dog food?
A: All of Purina’s dog food is considered to be healthy and high in protein. Some of the range is considered to be slightly better than others, here is a list of their dog food in order of most to least healthy:
- Purina Pro Plan SAVOR Shredded Blend Formula Adult Dry Dog Food.
- Purina ONE SmartBlend True Instinct Natural Dry Dog Food.
- Purina Pro Plan SPORT Performance 30/20 Formula Dry Dog Food.
- Purina Pro Plan Focus Puppy Large Breed Dog Dry Food.
- Purina One Smart Blend Natural Healthy Weight Formula Adult Dry Dog Food.
About Dog Chow
Dog Chow is owned by Nestlé Purina PetCare, one of the largest pet food companies on the planet, which significantly increases their footprint and means that they have a much larger portion of the market than many of their competitors.
Dog Chow was the creation of researchers at Purina who, during the 1950’s, decided to grow their small rural animal food company into one that specifically marketed towards household pets. As a result, the company began five years of trials, testing their product on hundreds of animals, the first bag of Dog Chow hit the market in 1957. Within two years, the company had become the best-selling dog food in the United States, and continues to hold a huge percent of the marketplace to this day.
Where to Buy
Dog Chow can be found just about any place that pet food is sold. Everywhere from supermarkets and gas stations to big pet food retailers can be found to carry the brand. Unfortunately for those looking to get their hands on a bag, however, many smaller specialty shops opt not to carry it because of the low quality of the food, preferring to give their limited shelf space to other, higher quality brands instead.
Dog Chow is also easily found only, and can be purchased from websites like Amazon or Chewwy, as well as an of the other big-name pet food websites. Additionally, several other sites like Walmart will also have the food available online, making this one of the most easily accessible brands on the market today.